Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton


There is rumor of a house that has a room where ghosts gather to tell ghost stories. Jack is curious about this house and, one night, sees a light shining from under a closed door. Inside the room, sit a group of storytellers. In this anthology, Shelton allows us to sit in the ghostly meeting and listen as they share their stories.

Let Me Sleep (as told by Mr. Blackmore) is a great short tale of a robber, a victim, an accident, and retribution. The dead will have the final word.

The Wrong Side of the Road (as told by Mr. Harlow) is another tale of retribution from the other side. An arrogant, self-centered man took the life of another and hid the truth for a year simply because the other person was never found. The thing about the dead, is that they always know where to find the living.

Oswald (as told by Josephine) is a little longer tale that begins with the death of a quintessential “old cat lady” and ends with the cat’s caretaker going mad. Roland was not pleased with being charged with taking care of Helena’s cats after she passed. After the cat’s suddenly started dying in his care, Helena’s favorite, and most spoiled cat, Oswald, was not pleased with being taken care of by Roland.

The Red Tree (as told by Piotr) is an interesting tale about a woodcutter that killed a prince from the neighboring kingdom. When the woodcutter is summoned to that king’s court, he is charged with going into the neighboring woods and cutting down an evil tree that is said to kill people. In the end, it is the tree that gets the last laugh.

Tick, Tick, Tick (as told by Professor Cleary) tells a quick, little story about the last days of Professor Seabright. The Professor had been working hard and was now on a holiday, but his holiday was haunted by the sound of an unseen clock. An insessant clock, whose ticking quickly drives him mad.

Beneath the Surface (as told by Lee) is a heart-breaking and heart-warming story. Jonah lost his family when their boat overturned and now lives with his Aunt and Uncle, who do the best they can for him. Love never lets a little thing like death stop a family from being together.

Razor (as told by Katy Mulligan) is a great little Sweeney Todd-esque tale of Peter, an over-eager news reporters, and what can happen when you mistake someone’s identity. This tale will make you think twice before meeting up with someone you have never met.

The Girl in the Red Coat (as told by Amelia) is a revenge-on-the-bully tale where the bully’s latest victim has an open, accepting heart that allows for a little ghostly support.

The Patchwork Sailor (as told by Mr. Fowler) is a fantastic story of a father’s love, a murderous uncle, and the lengths to which the victims will go to to ensure justice.

Unputdownable (as told by Miss Crane) is a little tale that many writers can relate to. This story involves a haunted house, a dead writer, and a man with a little too much time on his hands. In the end, the story must be told…it will be told.

Snowstorms (as told by Mr. Randolph) is a psychological story about a group of researchers in Antarctica that are haunted (and hunted) by a small boy that comes in a snowstorm.

Among the Dead (as told by Mr. Osterley) is a very honest, poignant perspective of life from a trained-from-birth undertaker. As he states in his auto-biographical tale, “I am Frederick William Osterley and in death, as in life, I am among the dead. And I help them to their rest.”

The House Where the Ghosts Meet (as told by Jack) is a tear-jerking story that ties in with Mr. Osterley’s experience that sometimes the dead don’t know, or want to accept, that they are dead. Jack’s story begins with how he found the house. He reason’s that being scared makes the dead feel alive again, and that brings about his memory of a near-death experience. In time Jack will remember everything. Until then he will continue to meet with the others to share ghost stories and feel alive.

Overall, this is a fantastic anthology of ghost stories told by ghosts. I would not recommend this book for younger readers. 

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